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Katherine Stewart discusses "The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children"
06/26/2012 7:00 pm
"A controversial book...masterfully told. Stewart treats all sides fairly."--Seattle Times
In January, 2009, Katherine Stewart learned that the Santa Barbara public elementary school her children attended had added a Bible study class called the “Good News Club” to its afterschool program. She soon learned that the Good News Club—a seemingly spontaneous and voluntary after-school program—was in fact part of a larger, calculated initiative by national advocacy groups whose declared aim is to “take back” America’s public schools and repurpose them with a Fundamentalist Christian agenda.
What happened in Stewart’s community is happening nationwide: at the end of 2010 there were more than 3,500 Good News Clubs operating in public schools across the country, and the number is rapidly increasing. What’s more, a landmark 2001 Supreme Court ruling not only permits such an unusual pairing of schooling and religion, it effectively makes it obligatory.
In The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, Stewart sets out on an investigative journey to uncover the effect the Good News Clubs and similar initiatives have on our schools, children, and communities. She travels to dozens of cities and towns across the country and visits regions famous for their piety, like west Texas and Alabama, as well as places known for the opposite, like Seattle and New York City. Everywhere, she discovers religion-driven programs inserting themselves into public school systems with unprecedented force and unexpected consequences.
The Christian Right’s strategy to “take back America” is stealthy, calculated, extremely well-financed, and coming soon to a neighborhood near you.
This event is co-sponsored by Americans United. Americans United for Separation of Church and State is an organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all. Learn more at www.mnau.org.
Katherine Stewart has written for The New York Times, Reuters, and the Guardian. She now lives with her family in New York City.
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